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    Alliance Moving Home Office to Canada…

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    The Alliance’s 2011 consolidation with the Canadian Fraternal Association is proving to be fortuitous as the home office of the association will be relocating to Canada by June 1.  The primary reason for the sudden move is not the staff’s abiding love of longer, colder winters or a lingering desire to learn to speak French.  The driving factor is the nearly 50 percent increase in the premium for group medical program the Alliance offers its employees. 

    After carefully reviewing the options, we determined that the Alliance could no longer afford to provide its employees with a traditional group medical insurance program.  Even higher deductible programs and health savings accounts proved to be too expensive for the Alliance’s limited budget. 

    Because the Alliance is a small employer with fewer than ten staff members, we have absolutely no bargaining power in the marketplace.  And since the health care exchanges called for under the new health insurance law will not be formed until 2014, there is really no place our employees can go to access affordable coverage.  On the bright side, the Alliance’s small staff size exempts the organization from the penalties for not providing employees such coverage.   

    But not offering a competitive group medical plan isn’t a viable option either.  It would be unfair to current employees and make the Alliance a less attractive place to work for future staff members.   

    So what’s a small employer like us to do?  Move to Canada!  Members may note a slight disruption of their service over the next couple of months as we box everything up and head north.  But we promise that as soon as we find a suitable location for the new home office – I hear Saskatchewan is nice in the summer – we’ll be back with more compelling blogs like this one.  Not a bad idea, eh?

    Consider the date…

    I hope you’ll consider the date when reading this article, because while the office relocation is meant to be tongue-in-cheek, the information about the costs of the Alliance’s group medical program is all too real.  We’re examining all our options and are hopeful we can find one that’s fair to employees and members like you that provide the lion’s share of the funding for this organization.  But as we go through this process, I can’t help but wonder if many of you are experiencing the same thing.  If so, please let me know by posting a comment here or sending me an email at jannotti@fraternalalliance.org.  I’m particularly interested in whether you think a Webinar or Annual Meeting Workshop on helping small employers navigate the health care maze would be helpful to you.

    6 Responses

    1. Happy April Fools Day!

    2. How unfortunate that a small business must leave the country to provide basic health benefits for their employees. What is the small business that depends on its existence from the local community supposed to do to attract and retain employees?

      • Ahh, got caught in the April “Fools” joke but probably pretty real for some companies!

    3. Happy April Fools day to you too Joe! All joking aside, Alliance employers will be faced with decisions between now and the end of the year on what strategy to pursue regarding health insurance for employees. The way we are paying for health insurance is fundamentally changing in the US. The decision will be complex and should be made on financial as well as non-financial factors.

    4. Nice! Happy April Fools Day back to you! Yes, we share in your pain regarding the cost of employee benefits. Yet it is a very important area when it comes to reward and retention.

    5. Finally! A dramatic move by the Alliance that makes sense!!! I hope we take advantage of the move and relocate to La Belle Province – Quebec! That way we can sample the finest in tourtiere and ragout whenever we wish! To all Francophones out there – “poisson d’Avril”!

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